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Past Program

May 21 - May 23, 2012

The Future of the Multilateral Trading System and the World Trade Organization

Session 491

Abstract

With the protracted negotiations on the Doha Trade Round stalled, the implications for the multilateral trading system and indeed the World Trade Organization (WTO) itself are daunting. Do the stalled talks threaten the operation of other parts of the WTO, such as dispute settlement, which operate well? The WTO though is not the only forum for trade negotiations, and many countries are seeking liberalization agreements, whether bilateral, plurilateral, sectoral or regional, in particular with the fast growing economies of Asia. If the "spaghetti bowl" of trade agreements continues to grow, it may in due course require rationalization and a renewed commitment to work at the multilateral level.

This session will provide a timely contribution to international policy-making on the future of the world trading system in light of the Eighth WTO Ministerial Meeting. Senior and upcoming speakers and leaders are being invited from national missions to the WTO in Geneva as well as from business, governments, and think tanks across Europe, North America, Asia and developing countries. Given the highly targeted nature of the audience, the session and its report aim to feed into international policy-making at a time when additional means to stimulate the global economy and improve trade facilitation are urgently needed. The seminar will also identify and discuss new trade-related issues which many believe increasingly need addressing at the international level, including among others the following questions:

  • Will preferential trading agreements proliferate and trade disputes increase?
  • What trade agenda can re-engage business in global negotiations, given many corporations can obviate trade barriers inter alia through their global supply chains?
  • How can political support and leadership for trade liberalization be generated?
  • Can the WTO launch negotiations on new (Singapore) issues such as investment without having concluded other negotiations?

Program

With the protracted negotiations on the Doha Trade Round stalled, the implications for the multilateral trading system and indeed the World Trade Organization (WTO) itself are daunting. Do the stalled talks threaten the operation of other parts of the WTO, such as dispute settlement, which operate well?

However, the WTO is not the only forum for trade negotiations, and many countries are seeking liberalization agreements, whether bilateral, plurilateral, sectoral or regional, in particular with the fast growing economies of Asia.

If the “spaghetti bowl” of trade agreements continues to grow, it may in due course require rationalization and a renewed commitment to work at the multilateral level.

This session will provide a timely contribution to international policy-making on the future of the world trading system in light of the Eighth WTO Ministerial Meeting. Senior and upcoming speakers and leaders are being invited from national missions to the WTO in Geneva as well as from business, governments, and think tanks across Europe, North America, Asia and developing countries. Given the highly targeted nature of the audience, the session and its report aim to feed into international policy-making at a time when additional means to stimulate the global economy and improve trade facilitation are urgently needed. The seminar will also identify and discuss new trade-related issues which many believe increasingly need addressing at the international level, including among others the following questions:

  • Will preferential trading agreements proliferate and trade disputes increase?
  • What trade agenda can re-engage business in global negotiations, given many corporations can avoid trade barriers through their global supply chains?
  • How can political support and leadership for trade liberalization be generated?
  • Can the WTO launch negotiations on new (Singapore) issues such as investment without having concluded other negotiations?

Participant Profile

The session is open to a broad range of international trade professionals, including government officials, trade negotiators, lawyers, academics, business sector representatives and civil society activists.

Past Participants of Salzburg Global Seminar Sessions on Trade

     

  • Director of International Economic Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, Argentina
  • Director General for Trade, European Commission, Belgium
  • First Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, China
  • Associate Chief Officer, Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, China
  • General Manager, Ghana Agro Food Company Ltd., Ghana
  • Director for Trade Policy, Government of India, India
  • Head of International Regulation, Manufacturers Association of Israel, Israel
  • Director of Economic Planning and Research, The Planning Institute of Jamaica, Jamaica
  • Head of Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvia
  • Secretary, Ministry of Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Nepal
  • Assistant Director, ASEAN Secretariat, Philippines
  • Program Head: Emerging Powers, South African Institute of International Affairs, South Africa
  • Assistant Director, Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka
  • Second Secretary, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  • Executive Director, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Switzerland
  • Deputy Director-General, WTO, Switzerland
  • Research Fellow Trade and Integration, Makerere University, Uganda
  • Chairman, International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC), USA
  •  

Past Testimonials

This was a great learning experience, both personally and professionally. The facilities, discussions, service and intellectual stimulation were outstanding – Fellow, USA

What a wonderful Global Seminar! Thanks so much to the faculties, fellows, staff and the foundations and donors who contribute to such a fantastic seminar. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was unforgettable and I am looking forward to meeting you again – Fellow, Thailand

It was a very exciting and stimulating seminar. It was a pleasure to chair it. I am looking forward to coming back to Salzburg – Faculty, Netherlands

This week in Salzburg has been an extraordinary experience, with lots of inspiring presentations and discussions as well as a great social event. I would like to thank the organizers for the generous invitation as well as for an experience that I will never forget. I hope to see you again someday, here, in Sweden, or anywhere else! – Fellow, Sweden

Photos